“My brain, having been suspended in a state of hyper-vigilance for such a long time, just packed in and said, ‘No more, your job now is to lie on the sofa incredibly still and just work on evaporating, you useless towel’. And so I did.”
Story time! I’ve always wanted a sister. Older or younger, either will do. (Or a twin! I wouldn’t mind sharing my birthday if it meant I had a sister.) Alas, my dream never came true and so I treasure the friends who are like sisters to me instead.
And now I’ve decided that Ruby Elliot, AKA rubyetc, is my sister. My long-lost and more artistically-talented sister, that is. I mean, she must be! Her drawings just GET me. I follow her on social media and each new picture she posts seems to come at the exact time I needed them.
“Collectively, our mental health relies heavily on supporting one another, but sometimes that’s not enough. On a basic level, I think therapy is a slightly more structured way of getting what we probably all need when we are struggling, which is to talk and to be heard.”
Filled with her trademark oddball illustrations, It’s All Absolutely Fine: Life is Complicated So I’ve Drawn It Instead tackles everything from mental health and body positivity to friendships and #adulting.
I love her outlook on life. Diagnosed with both bipolar disorder and bulimia, Elliot has – like me – already been through A LOT despite being only in her twenties. But – once again, like me, she tries her best to be positive about this mess we call life. She writes and draws about depression honestly, but with a batshit sense of humor running through it all.
“Because the silence is exhausting and isolating in a way it needn’t be.”
And really, isn’t that exactly what we need more of? The 2018 MOOD is being honest about our struggles, but without being perpetually negative + falling into an anti-recovery mindset. Navigating your way through early adulthood is challenging enough, but add mental illness to the mix and the whole experience becomes even scarier and lonelier. It’s SO important to talk openly about what you’re going through… that way you can both lend support to others and receive support from them.
“What I have got a shot at controlling is the way I manage what’s happening. And that’s what I was in therapy for, not to be fixed, but to facilitate and support me finding some sort of way through my difficulties.”
I look forward to the day Elliot announces she’s publishing a new book. I’m so grateful she’s here. Keep growing – and don’t let others’ opinions of you make you doubt yourself, she reminds us. And try to laugh, however hard that may be at times. Pet dogs. Get something to eat. Draw a flower with a grumpy face saying “fuck,” if it makes you feel any better.
I won’t lie, the last few years have been tough for me. But I’m getting better, thanks to meds and therapy and persistence and discipline. And the support of others, including some who don’t even know me. Ruby Elliot’s drawings, and this book, came into my life at exactly the moment when I most needed them.
Thanks, big sister.